JUNE 10, 2009 minutes
MINUTES - MONTHLY MEETING, NORTH OKANAGAN LABOUR COUNCIL
Ron Bobowski, CUPW 760
Pat Bulmer, CEP 2000
Ronn Dunn, CUPE 3523
Shane Curveon, ATU 1722
David Porteous, UFCW 120
Glenn Nowag, UFCW 120
Jeff Carsience, UBCJA 1370
Carole Gordon, BCTF
Linda Thiel, HEU
Nikki Inouye, HEU Vernon
Carol Kenzie, HEU
Shawna Rand, HEU Vernon
Cheryl Stone , UFCW 1518
Boyd Sommerfeld, HEU
West Kmet, BCFORUM
Doug Gibson, BC FORUM
Brigid Kemp, South Okanagan Boundary Labour Council
Dora Stewart, BCFORUM
Orion Irvine, CLC Rep
Doris Janssen, CEP 823M
Karen Abramsen, UFCW 120 & BCFORUM
CALL TO ORDER
GUEST SPEAKERS: Dave Porteous, Trustee for NOLC re: WE services
The meeting was called to order by President Glenn Nowag at 7:00 p.m.
22 present with 14 delegates and 8 guests
OBLIGATIONS OF NEW DELEGATES:
Karen Abramsen, UFCW 120 and Doris Janssen, CEP 823-M were affirmed as new delegates to our Council.
EXECUTIVE BOARD REPORT/ACTION CORRESPONDENCE
1. What constitutes a quorum in our Labour Council: The NOLC is in
the process of updating the delegate and affiliates lists. Shawna Rand,
Vice President, NOLC, has offered to spear head this project over the
summer months and report back at our September 9, 2009 meeting. Orion
Irvine, CLC Rep. offered to mail out a letter to all affiliates
requesting updates from them as well. If any delegate has an address
change, or information update, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or
email directly to our website.
2. United Way Kick off breakfast -- A motion was made to purchase a
table for 10 to attend the kick off breakfast of the United Way,
Kelowna, in September, from NOLC. Also 2 breakfasts will be purchased
for West Kelowna. The total contribution is $ 420.00. A donation to the
Vernon United Way will be made in the same amount of $ 420.00. Delegates
from the NOLC will be selected to attend the breakfast at our next
meeting, September 9, 2009.
3. Protein for People business plan UFCW 1518 -- This project is an
effective vehicle to support unemployed workers and underemployed
workers and their families. With donations and support of B.C. Labour
Councils this project will provide canned salmon to Food Banks in their
areas. The business plan is being revealed at the AGM and salmon BBQ
being held on Thursday, June 18, 2009, in New Westminster, B.C. at the
CAW Hall, 326 12 Street, New Westminster. Brother Dave Porteous,
Trustee, showed an interest to attend. Sister, Cheryl Stone, Recording
Secretary, will investigate ways to bring this project to Kelowna,
Vernon and Penticton and will report at the next NOLC meeting in
September 2009. This is a terrific way of helping our local Food Banks
when they are in desperate need, as well as achieving community
recognition for our Labour Councils.
4. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives B. C. -- Solutions Fund
annual appeal: A motion was recommended by the Executive and made in the
general meeting to donate $ 250.00 towards this cause. M/S/C
REPORTS OF LOCAL UNIONS, COMMITTEE REPORTS, CLC REPORT
Labour Congress - Regional Representative Report -- June 2009 by Orion
GET REAL! IT'S THE ECONOMY! Unemployment is up to 7.4% in BC (180,000
workers). Unemployment for all of Canada is 8% ( 1,464,600 workers). The
number of workers in BC receiving EI benefits rose 26.7% (to 82,000) in
March, compared to February. Most communities in BC have seen a huge
increase in the number of workers receiving EI benefits from this time
last year. Cranbrook - 213.3% increase, Kelowna - 201.8% increase,
Pentiction - 213.3% increase, Kamloops - 111.5% increase, Vernon -
Statistics Canada data shows that almost 60% of unemployed workers are
not receiving EI benefits. The CLC is continuing to call on the
government to take greater action on the economic crisis. The federal
-- Increase Employment Insurance benefits. Workers have paid billions
into EI but benefits have been drastically reduced. The EI fund is
running a huge surplus and should be used to improve access to benefits
for unemployed workers.
-- Ensure that laid-off workers have access to
training and adjustment programs.
-- Launch a major public investment
program to create good jobs in infrastructure, manufacturing and public
services, and link this program to a made-in-Canada procurement policy.
Ensure that government contracts promote a strong public sector,
unionization and inclusion of women and workers of colour in good jobs.
-- Provide a pension guarantee fund for workers' pensions. Even the
United States has one. Phase in increases to the Canada and Quebec
pension plans and immediately raise Old Age Security to protect retirees
and reduce reliance on private pensions and RRSPs.
-- Invest directly
in sector renewal strategies designed to save jobs and promote
successful restructuring in hard-hit industries such as auto and forest
products. Pursue strategies to support cultural industries, energy
efficiency, renewable energy and other promising sectors.
equalization and other transfers to provinces and cities for public
infrastructure, public services and social programs. The CLC, working
with Labour Councils, are lobbying MPs on these issues. We are also
holding rallies across Canada.
EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE On May 25th, the Conservative government held a
press conference to "announce" two EI initiatives. However, the only
somewhat new items were additional details about two initiatives that
were announced in the budget. The initiatives are for long service
workers and have stringent a criterion attached to what a long service
-- someone who has worked in a job or industry for at least
7 of the last 10 years
-- someone who has paid at least 30% of the
annual premium rate over that period of time
-- someone who has not
received more than 35 weeks of regular benefits during the last 5 years.
First initiative: Pilot Project #14 This allows a long service worker to
collect 104 weeks of regular benefits (including the 2-week waiting
period), if they take extended training of up to a year or two. Twelve
of those 104 weeks could be paid to the individual after the training is
complete so that they can look for work. (One week for every 5 weeks of
training.) In order to be eligible, the course must be:
-- full time
-- more than 20 weeks in length
-- covered by Part II of the EI Act
[Estimates are that it will cover 40,000 participants]
Second initiative: Modification of Article 36(9) of the EI Regulations:
This allows long service workers to receive regular benefits sooner, if
they want to invest all or a large proportion, of their severance pay in
a training course. [This prevents the severance pay from being allocated
at the start of his/her benefit period, but only if they fulfill the
following 5 criteria.] Course must be:
¥ full time -- 10 weeks or
-- covered by Part II of the EI Act
-- cost at least $5,000 or
80% of the separation pay
-- enrolment in the course must be done
during the weeks of allocation of the severance pay if the course is
more than 20 weeks, the worker may also benefit from Pilot Project #14.
[Estimate is that 5,000 to 10,000 workers may be affected by this
initiative. Changes came into effect retroactively 25 January 2009 and
will run until 29 May 2010.]
Work-sharing agreements -- As a result
of the changes to this program in the 2009 budget, there has been an
enormous increase in the number of work-sharing agreements coming
through the Commissioners' offices. The Commissioners approve
agreements that are worth $900,000 and more. One agreement in May was
worth $13 million. At this point Commissioners approve an average of 5
or 6 per week, at times more. At the end of April, there were
approximately 2,000 agreements across the country covering 80,000
workers at a cost of $327 million. (In the budget, the estimated cost of
this part of the program was $200 million over 2 years.) Ontario, Quebec
and BC have the most agreements. BC has 458 agreements covering 7,992
workers at a cost of $41.9 million. During the same period last year,
the cost of the program was $27.7 million.
Delay in benefit payment EI intake is up 48.5% over last year. There
have been 400 new hires in recent months and a further 400 in the coming
weeks to keep up with the demand. Many offices have been functioning 7
days a week since the beginning of November to keep up with the heavy
demand. We have heard that Service Canada staff is feeling very stressed
and suffering from the very high workload.
The CLC's plan for EI The CLC is continuing its call for EI reform. We
are calling on the government to:
-- change accessibility rules to
provide regular EI benefits on the basis of 360 hours of work, no matter
where people live and work in Canada
-- make all workers eligible for
up to 50 weeks of EI benefits
-- raise benefits immediately to 60% of
earnings calculated on a worker's best 12 weeks of earnings.
CFNU/CUPE/NUPGE: In May, the CLC held meetings between the parties.
Following the meeting, the CLC requested that CFNU/BCNU cease all
actions in which it is interfering in and seeking to disrupt the
established bargaining relationships of other affiliates. The parties
are in ongoing discussions and the CLC is encouraging the parties to
reach a resolution.
AUDITS: Labour Councils are reminded that they are required as per their
by-laws to undertake audits every year. If your council's audit is not
up to date, please ensure that your trustees have a date scheduled in
June or July to do an audit. If you require any assistance, have any
questions or would like assistance with the audit, please contact me.
UFCW 1518 report given by Cheryl Stone:
Ivan Limpright, President of UFCW 1518 stated that UFCW 1518 has a
diverse and unique membership with over 25,000 members who work in
several industries including: Retail Foods, Commercial, Health Care,
Industrial, and our latest addition, Farm Workers.
We welcome Shoppers Drug Mart members in Terrace, Island Trucking
members from Vancouver Island, and our newest UFCW 1518 members, Farm
Workers from Greenway Farms in Surrey.
It has been an exceptionally busy year with negotiations taking place
for the major retail foods contract. After almost 9 months of
negotiations, members employed with Save-On/Overwaitea and Safeway have
now voted to ratify new 5-year contracts.
We've seen some great success in negotiations for other contracts within
the union as well. Members employed with Buy-Low Warehouse, and Sunrise
Poultry have recently ratified new contracts that provide them with wage
increases, better benefits, and improved working conditions.
Union members at The Concorde in Penticton provided their Union
Negotiating Committee with a 100% strike vote, which allowed them to
negotiate and ratify a much-improved contract. Recently ratified
contracts are: Canada Safeway, Save-On/Overwaitea, IGA, Coopers Foods,
Stongs, Ucluelet Co-Op, Fernbrae Manor, Kelowna, Zellers-Brentwood Bay,
Wal-Mart-St. Hyacynthe, Quebec
OLD DUTCH BOYCOTT UNDERWAY IN SUPPORT OF UFCW ALBERTA MEMBERS: The
Canadian Labour Congress has endorsed a nation-wide boycott of products
made by Old Dutch Snack Foods Ltd. The company locked out 170 members of
UFCW Canada Local 401 in Calgary, Alberta on March 29, 2009. The
collective agreement for these workers expired more than one year ago.
This boycott will last until the company agrees to negotiate a fair and
In addition to all Old Dutch label items, the boycott includes the
President's Choice (Western Grocers)
Safeway Blue Bags (Safeway)
Co-op Krunchie (Co-op)
Great Value (Wal-Mart)
HEU report given by Carol Kenzie:
Carol Kenzie read an
open letter to BCNU members sent June 2009, from HEU, BCGEU, UFCW 1518,
CUPE BC, IUOP Local 882
Dear BCNU member:
Re: BCNU plans to sign up members of
other health care unions
For decades, members of BCNU and other health care unions have worked
side-by-side with a shared commitment to team work. Whether it is on the
nursing unit, in the community, in joint health and safety and violence
prevention committees, or by standing together in our commitment to
achieve fair wages and working conditions, we have stood in solidarity
with each other and in our commitment to patients.
We can also take a lot of pride in our combined efforts to mobilize
community action through our work in the BC Health Coalition, and
campaigns to stop the cutbacks and privatization in health care.
Although we have had our differences at times, we have never lost sight
of our collective goals. Our mutual dedication to provide the best care
possible under challenging conditions and defend public Medicare for the
benefit of all has always taken priority.
Despite a long history of working together as sister unions, the BCNU
leadership has launched a full-scale campaign to move members of our
unions, starting with those in the Facilities and Community Health
subsectors, into the BCNU. The BCNU leadership is targeting LPNs right
now, but they have also been clear that they have got a wide range of
unionized health care workers in their sights, including care aides,
unit clerks, ambulance paramedics and even doctors.
As you know, we work in a high pressure environment where health care
workers must rely on each other to deliver quality care as a cohesive
nursing unit. These latest actions by the BCNU directly undermine
collaborative nursing practice, professionalism and team work. They
create unnecessary disruption, divisiveness and uncertainty among
colleagues. We would urge you not to participate in this campaign to
sign up members of other unions as BCNU associate members.
In terms of the broader labour movement, there are significant
consequences to BCNU's attempts to raid other unions' members.
Raiding -- which occurs when one union tries to take members away from
another union -- undermines solidarity, weakens the labour movement and
drains resources. Instead of wasting money and time fighting each other,
we could be using our resources in working together to protect public
health care and improve senior care.
On February 17, 2009, HEU and BCGEU filed raiding charges under Article
4f, Section 5, of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) constitution
against BCNU through their national unions (CUPE and NUPGE)
On May 14, 2009, Ken Georgetti, President of CLC, wrote Canadian
Federation of Nurses Unions president Linda Silas stating:
It became clear with the publication of advertisements in B.C. news
papers on May 13, 2009, and from statements at the meeting by the BCNU
representative (held May 13, 2009), that the BCNU was preparing to
undertake actions that would be in violation of Article 4, Section 5, of
the CLC constitution.
I am, therefore, directing that the CFNU-BCNU cease all actions in which
it is interfering in and seeking to disrupt the established bargaining
relationships of other affiliates.
Despite this direction from the CLC president, BCNU has continued and in
fact, escalated its actions. If the BCNU continues to fail to comply
with the CLCs directive to cease these actions, BCNU representatives may
be barred from participating in CLC, B.C. Federation of Labour and local
Labour Council activities. The BCNU could eventually face expulsion from
these labour bodies.
That is the price that the leadership of the BCNU appears to be willing
to pay in order to pursue their plans to boost BCNUs Non-RN membership.
But in our view, such an outcome would be a loss for both the labour
movement and for committed union activists in the BCNU.
If you believe we should be working in the spirit of unity, we encourage
you to contact your leadership to voice your concerns.
Hospital Employees Union,
BC Government and Service
United Food & Commercial Workers, Local 1518,
International Union of Operating Engineers Local 882
CEP 2000, Pat Bulmer:
Kelowna Daily Courier publisher Alison Yesilcimen announced today that
she is resigning effective July 31, 2009. Our composing room has just
begun a reduced work week-EI program. Members agreed to work 4 days a
week with the 5th on EI to prevent layoffs.
BCTF #23, Carole Gordon:
New Executive for next year:
1st Vice President -- Michelle Davies
2nd Vice President --
Pro-D Chair -- Jessica Martin
As a result of the election, current President Tom Potts will be
retiring at the end of June 2009. He will be missed by all. The COTA
would like to thank the NOLC for its support of the BCTF Regional Social
Justice Conference held on May 1st, 2009. We had about 150 people in
attendance including six MLA candidates.
CEP Local 823-M - report of Jim Failes, President,- reported by new
delegate to NOLC, Doris Jansson.
Tension over the uncertain future of CHBC-TV nearly reached a breaking
point this month. Left without programs to air this fall, CHBC (along
with CanWest Global's other four secondary network stations) is now
completely dependent on would be buyers for its survival. With the
purchase process proceeding in secrecy, employees are left to wonder and
worry about their futures. The level of concern was obvious at an
all-staff meeting June 3, 2009, with frustrations loudly voiced between
employees and CHBCs General Manager. How much longer can this go on,
according to the GM, perhaps until the end of the month?
In a brief follow up meeting June 4th, 2009, we were told that good news
seemed a bit closer. There were no details; which leads us to the most
important of the many unanswered questions: what will a new owner do
with us. Meanwhile the same week, Company and Union representatives
gathered in Vancouver, convened by the Canada Industrial Relations Board
to settle inclusions and exclusions for the newly-created B.C.,
Bargaining Unit. In two days of negotiating, a tentative agreement was
reached that will see a considerable majority of disputed positions
swept into the Union; at CHBC five out of six disputed positions will be
included. In other news, the ongoing initiative to merge our Local with
several others from CanWest sister stations is temporarily on hold,
awaiting news on CHBC's purchase.
ATU 1722, Shane Curveon:
A new Executive Board has been elected and
takes office on July 1, 2009.
President - Lloyd Hooper (new to board)
Vice President -- Al Peressini
Maintenance -- Eric Sollard (new to board)
Financial Secretary -- Art
Peddle (new to board)
FT Conventional Rep 1 -- Shane Curveon
Conventional Rep 2 -- Rose Knoll
FT Conventional Rep 3 -- Scott Lovell
(new to board)
Handy Dart Rep 1 -- Darcy Kleiman
Handy Dart Rep 2 --
B.C. Transit will be speaking at the Regional District of the Central
Okanagan meeting on June 11, 2009 about transit between Vernon and
Kelowna. We are encouraging our members to attend as a show of support
as this is a contentious issue with our Local.
Five driver assaults in the last two months, many more instances of
driver assaults threatened. City, Company and Union have met. The
City seems reluctant to address the issue.
1 - NOLC By-Laws update. A notice of motion was given on the following
Add a section 3.06 "3.06 The BC Federation of Retired Union Members
(BCFORUM) shall be entitled to membership as an affiliated organization
upon application by BC Forum and payment of a $10.00 annual application
fee, and shall be entitled to two delegates. BCFORUM delegates shall
have the same rights as CLC Officers, Directors, and staff, that is, the
right to speak but not to vote or to run for regular Officer/Executive
positions with the exception of the BCFORUM Executive member position"
Amend 5.1 to read "5.1 The Officers of the Council shall consist
of a President, three (3) Vice-President(s), Secretary-Treasurer,
Recording Secretary, Sergeant-at-Arms, two (2) Executive Members, one
(1) each from the North and Central Okanagan and one BCFORUM Executive
Member. The BCFORUM Executive Member shall have voice but no vote.
5.2 to read "5.2 Each Officer shall be a member in good standing of an
affiliated organization. The BCFORUM Executive Member must be a BCFORUM
Amend 11.01 to read "11.01 The Executive Council shall consist
of the President, three (3) Vice- President(s), Secretary-Treasurer,
Recording Secretary, Sergeant-at-Arms, the two (2) Executive Members and
the BCFORUM Executive member."
2 - We still need to fill two positions on our Executive Board. Attending
delegates were asked if anyone would like to assume the position of
Vice President and/or Trustee. There were no volunteers at this meeting
so we will forward this request to our September 9th meeting.
3 - Kids Camp 2009 report -- Dave Porteous, Trustee, NOLC, turned in the
entries from the many interested children wanting to attend the Silver
Lake, Silver Lake Forestry and Camp Jubilee Camps. Orion Irvine drew the
names of the lucky winners and the alternates, should the winner not be
able to attend. Winners were announced at the meeting and will be
1. Reminder that the BCFORUM person who wishes to be on the NOLC
Executive Board, with voice but no vote, and the second BCFORUM person,
who wishes to represent the BCFORUM as a delegate to this Labour
Council, should call the BCFORUM and submit their names and BCFORUM will
get back to NOLC. This will be further discussed at our September 9,
2. Current dispute between HEU and BCNU: As per the above report by
Carol Kenzie, HEU, it was moved, second and carried among the delegates
attending this meeting, that the NOLC send a letter to Ken Georgetti,
President, CLC, regarding this issue with hopes of a speedy resolution
for the rank and file members of the HEU. A letter will be mailed within
the next week or so by this NOLC regarding this matter and discussed at
the September 9, 2009 meeting. M/S/C
3. A motion was made on the floor that the NOLC send a letter to Tom
Potts, President, BCTF 23, congratulating him on his retirement. M/S/C.
FINAL CREDENTIALS REPORT
22 total with 17 delegates and 5 guests
GOOD AND WELFARE ADJOURNMENT
Cheryl Stone, Recording Secretary thanked the NOLC for their recommendation for her to be on the EI Board of Referees. Cheryl Stone will serve from June 1, 2009 to May 31, 2012.
Karen Abramsen, made an announcement that the Okanagan Jazz & Blues Society is holding their first Jazz & Blues Festival here in Kelowna at the Island Stage, Kelowna Waterfront Park, called PICNIC IN THE PARK, on Saturday July 4th 10 am to 10 pm and Sunday July 5th 10 am to 8 pm. Mayor Sharon Shepherd will announce a proclamation to make this an annual event in Kelowna. Please visit www.okanaganjazzblues.org website for more information.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately approximately 8:45 pm. The NOLC Summer social began shortly after the meeting with all remaining to have a good time.
Minutes respectfully submitted by Cheryl Stone, Recording Secretary, UFCW 1518,
NEXT MEETING: 7:00 pm, Wednesday, September 9, 2009 at the NOLC office,
201-1358 St Paul Street, Kelowna.